POLITICIAN Ashley Fox has put his name to the Dorset Echo petition to keep Condor Ferries in Weymouth.

Mr Fox, South West MEP, supported the campaign on a visit to Weymouth today.

The petition calls on Condor Ferries to think again over its future operations and to maintain a cross-Channel ferry link from the resort.

A year after Weymouth and Portland Borough Council completed a £4million project fixing No 3 berth for Condor vessels it is now facing the prospect of having to come up with a further £10million to upgrade harbour facilities to accommodate a larger ferry in the harbour.

Negotiations are ongoing but if the council did decide to do the work, Condor would switch sailings to Poole for a year.

The ferry operation is worth millions to the local economy and its impact is felt all over the borough.

Mr Fox signed the petition when he visited Mace News in Lennox Street with borough councillor Ian Bruce and guesthouse owner Roger Costello.

After being briefed on the issues affecting the harbour, Mr Fox said that it would be unlikely that there would be any EU grants available to support any works. He said until Prime Minister David Cameron has completed his renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership, the EU might even prevent the Government helping with new funds.

However, Mr Fox pledged to do all he could to support Weymouth as a successful ferry port and to provide the links that everyone in the Channel Islands and Weymouth would like.

Cllr Ian Bruce said the council was working closely with Condor with an emphasis on improving the reliability of the service to the Channel Islands and ‘no stone was being left unturned’ to find a long-term solution.

Roger Costello, the proprietor of the Brierley Guest House, emphasised just how important our links to the Channel Islands were for the economy of Weymouth and Portland.

Sign the petition at dorsetecho.co.uk or visit your local newsagent which sells the Dorset Echo.